February 17, 2019

Dear Friends,

This is the day your Search Committee has been working toward for the last eight months.  Today we are releasing our Parish Profile by posting it on the St. Philip’s website, by delivering it to the diocesan Office of Transition Ministry (along with other documents prepared in accordance with the OTM’s specifications) and by distributing copies to each of you.  As of today, we have entered an eight-week period of receiving applications from prospective applicants who want to be considered to be called as our next rector.  At the end of that eight weeks, the committee will review the applications received as well as those of any other candidates whom we have identified - either within the committee ourselves or through the assistance of our congregation and friends - and begin our due diligence as we determine which names we will submit to the diocese and to the Vestry in order for the Vestry to make a selection and issue a call.

We are proud of the document that we show you today.  It is the work product of the nine of us, working long hours to assemble information about our parish and about what we aspire to become and the sort of leadership we seek.  As any of you who have participated in the exercise of drafting by committee knows, it is a sloppy and complicated process.  But everyone involved in this effort has worked with diligence, grace and good humor to mold an end product that draws a realistic picture of our parish and a balanced appraisal of the hopes and dreams we have for its future and its leadership.

I particularly want to recognize the energy and professional skills supplied by James Cornwell, our resident survey expert, Chris Sandlund our unflappable lead draftsman and Terri Akbas whose technical talent and time-management skills have kept up our pace with only the mildest use of her whip-hand.  I also need to single out Jennifer Sandlund who brought her aesthetic and design expertise to bear to incorporate the committee’s prose into a document that is beautiful, arresting and accessible.  Last but not least, I want to thank a) our Vestry for its timely and thoughtful input, b) Nora Smith, the Canon for Transition Ministry for her enthusiastic support and direction, c) our committee as a whole: the most formidable and dedicated editors - English majors, grammarians, business writers and lawyers - that are for hire in any neighborhood in New York and d) most importantly, the 180 members of this congregation who took the time and energy to convey their written contributions to this important process.

As you read the profile, don’t be surprised to find that it fails to include every word you wrote in response to the survey.  It is not simply an amalgamation of specific answers but a summary of the best collection we could gather of information about the St. Philip’s we are proud to be and the St. Philip’s we want to become.  It is also designed to give a realistic picture of our history, our strengths and weaknesses to those who may be interested in leading us.  Drafting the St. Philip’s Parish Profile has given the whole committee a renewed pride in who our parish is today and an optimistic outlook on our future.    

If you still have names of potential applicants to recommend for our consideration or if you have questions or comments after reading the Profile, please contact the committee by emailing us at rector-search@stphilipshighlands.org or by speaking directly to one of the members of the committee.  As we review applications and interview candidates, there will be ample opportunity for us to convey additional information about our parish and about our expectations of our new rector by expanding orally during our interviews the picture we present to you today on paper.

Blake Newton, Chair